Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins (GF & DF) 100 Cal.

For the record; I love gluten and dairy. The reason I made these was purely because the person I was making them for can’t have either. Not that I think you can’t make good stuff without dairy and gluten, but when it isn’t naturally supposed to be that way it can be surprising and these were actually pretty great.

I’ve been getting on a honey and coconut kick lately. I love sugar, but only in moderation. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had a harder time with sweets in general so if I can sweeten something with honey I will.

As I said I made these muffins for someone. My husband and I were invited to a spring feast at my boss’ house and I offered to bring dessert. After a bit of research I found this recipe.

The recipe I originally consulted used a blender, but I’ve already busted one hand mixer and one blender (one because of peanut butter) so I decided to not risk it. Here is my version of the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium/large ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used the Costco Kirkland brand natural peanut butter)
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey (agave, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips + more for sprinkling muffin tops (optional if you can’t find gluten/dairy free)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare muffin pan (either mini or regular) by spraying very well with cooking spray or grease the pans; set aside.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add first 8 ingredients, through optional salt, and mix until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add heaping (optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  4. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, drop rounded 1 tablespoon mounds into prepared pans. Each cavity should be filled to a solid 3/4 full.
  5. Sprinkle each muffin with a generous pinch of chocolate chips if you like.
  6. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. That’s a large range with baking time and I find with medium bananas, there’s less batter, the cavities are less full, and 8-9 minutes is about right. Watch closely, especially if you are using a mini muffin pan.

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These are great to eat with milk or something like it because they are a bit thick (but fairly fluffy considering they’re flour-less).

With chocolate chips these are even better, but I’ll leave that up to you. For the party i went to I made both just in case there were people there that wanted an option (I know I did).

I hope you enjoy!

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Health, fitness, and smoothies

Ever since I was little I was active in one sport or another if not just running around the neighborhood without my shoes on or jumping around in the pool during the summer. As I grew up I always heard words of caution from people who were older than me;

Just wait until you get old and you can’t get the weight off!

Don’t pull your hair back so tight or you’ll get lines.

Smile more or your frown won’t go away.

That milkshake will go right to your a**.”

I always rolled my eyes and went on with whatever it was that I was doing. I’m in my 20’s now and have already noticed things that weren’t there before.

After I got married I didn’t worry about eating super healthy all the time (as you can probably tell from my food posts) and I’ve always been blessed with curves, but have always been fairly fit/skinny. You know, the hips and the butt. I’m tall so I’ve always weighed more than my friends and I’ve never been able to wear those cute little dresses that are now in style (Why can’t they make them just above the knee?!). I’m OK with all of this, really. I’m comfortable with my body.
Not too long ago I started to discover stretch marks in places they weren’t before and then people started to ask me if I was pregnant.
The first time this was asked of me I took it fairly well until the next day and then it hit me (at the time I was working out every day and had lost a few pounds). My poor husband has had to maintain my ego a lot lately because I was asked if I was pregnant 3 more times after that.
I just want to say once and for all-I am not pregnant.
Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I LOVE babies, and I want to have some. Just not right now.
I know that one of the big reasons for this particular question is that I recently got married and most people either expect it or want it. It’s sweet, really…But I’m not ready and I think I’ll get a puppy first. However, if God decided that I was before I knew it that would be wonderful too.

Anyway, I’m not looking for pity or for anyone to try and make me feel better about myself, I’m just trying to convey the reason behind working out and eating healthy more than I already was.

Being pregnant wouldn’t be a bad thing, I’m just not right now and I got really discouraged about how I looked. And honestly, pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things I have had the privilege to witness with family and friends. For a lot of people who are trying to lose weight there has to be a form of “rock bottom” and then a personal decision to make things better. It has to be for you first and then everyone else. People asking me if I was pregnant weren’t the only comments. I’ve always been comfortable and confident so some people feel comfortable making comments about certain things getting bigger-This was the start of what got me to the gym every day.

I want to look good. I don’t want rock hard abs, or giant muscles. I just want to look healthy and FEEL healthy. But I am NOT giving up ice cream or the occasional piece of pizza because gosh darn it it tastes so good.

So don’t expect a whole bunch of super healthy, gluten and dairy free recipes because I like that stuff. I will share with you some things that I have found to be not only healthy, but super delish and sometimes just happen to be free of gluten or dairy.

The first one is of my own making: Smoothies.

Most smoothies are made with dairy and ice and a lot of sugar to make it taste yummy. That’s all nice and everything, but when I get back from the gym I don’t want a milk shake every time (just every once in a while 😉 ). My husband and I went to Costco and I saw big bags of frozen fruit in the freezer section. I love fruit and some veggies, but it’s hard to always get the daily goal so I bought a few bags and started making them into smoothies.

It’s really quite simple. Here is one of my own recipes: Blueberry Fruit smoothie
(Please note that these portions are made for multiple smoothies to store for later consumption)

3/4c frozen blueberries
3/4c frozen pineapple
2-3 (large) frozen strawberries
1 ripe banana
Approx. 2 1/2c orange juice (preferably fresh or 100% juice)
1/3c cranberry juice (100%)

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Just dump it all into a blender and put it on the ice setting.
You’ll need to stir it every once in a while to keep things moving and sometimes i have to add more orange juice until I get the right consistency.
If you don’t like any of these ingredients don’t be afraid to add or take away (just don’t stress your blender). The reason I put in pineapple is because it’s a wonderful natural sweetener and helps balance out the other tart juices and fruits. Another thing to note is that I use mostly frozen ingredients so that I don’t have to use ice if I want to drink it right away. I sometimes had to blend in smaller portions until smooth and then add it to the blender to “liquefy” or “blend”.

Another recipe that I just tried is this: Tropical fruit smoothie

1 ripe banana
4 large frozen strawberries
2 frozen kiwis (I cut these up and froze them overnight)
1/2 ripe frozen mango (same as above)
3/4c pineapple
2-3c orange juice

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This one was really good. If you don’t like seeds that much I recommend de-seeding your kiwi before you freeze it.
Because these recipes give you A LOT of smoothie I put them into jars and froze them. Once I’m ready to have one I leave it out on the counter for an hour or so while at the gym and I come back to a smooth sorbet smoothie. It’s AWESOME.

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How could you resist?

I’ve tried many other combinations-these are just the ones I like and use a lot. I’ll probably have more later and some that incorporate veggies as well.

Sorry about being gone so long and this LONG post. Once you try one of these recipes you’ll forgive me. 😉
I’ll be back with gluten/dairy free peanut butter and banana muffins and a couple good workouts.

Ta ta!

Danie

Potatoes and Chowder

If it isn’t clear that I like potatoes now, it will be with this post.

It’s finally cooling off in this part of the country. This has been a super hot summer-mostly because it’s been so consistently sunny. If it rained it usually did during the night and the rest of the time it was a beautiful cloudless sky.

With cooler weather comes soup, coco, tea, and nice hot dinners. Not that I refrained before on some of those.

I couldn’t think of anything to make and Peter suggested a casserole. I didn’t have enough ingredients for one, but I realized if he picked up ham and potatoes I would have everything else.
That wonderful husband of mine did, and voila.

I give you Scalloped Potatoes with ham and cheese.

NOTE: You will need an hour and a half to cook these. So give yourself plenty of time for prep and cooking so you don’t end up with a 10pm dinner. Unless you want to of course.

I decided against the onion and pepper and it still tasted amazing. The leftovers were awesome too.

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The mixture was pretty easy to make. I doubled it cause I had so much ham and potatoes.

Make sure to slice your potatoes pretty thin. Not paper thin. They just need to be consistent in thickness so they all cook evenly.

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I ended up with a large AND small pan of them. Peter did a great job slicing them for me. He’s a pretty good cook.

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Again, if you have dairy issues-this probably isn’t the best option for you. You can always use your own version of dairy though.

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Seriously. So good. Not grainy, under cooked junk. Just pure amazingness.

Next up: White bean chicken and corn chowder

I took less photos with this one. Woops. So this is all you get.

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I forgot to buy bacon for the top, but it was pretty yummy anyways.

I doubled this recipe. Basically just bringing it to the texture and thickness that I wanted. Nice thing about this one is it’s just half and half-not a whole lot of dairy.

I took the fat off the chicken thighs, sliced it, and cooked it in salt, pepper, and butter. Just cook it until cooked through. I wanted it to be nice and tender. The flavor of the salt, pepper, and butter worked really well.

Also-I added in 2tsp of cumin with the flour base for a bit of spice.

This recipe calls for cannellini beans. The juice that they keep them in in the can can give a different taste, so next time I make this I think I will just just regular white beans and maybe even black beans. I also want to add red bell pepper as well. I really like southwestern corn chowder, so you can probably expect that at some point.

In the end it was really yummy and I had quite a bit of leftovers so I sent some to work with Peter. 🙂

Here is the flop of the week:

And last of all: Slow cooker Italian chicken

First off-know your crock pot. This was my first time cooking something in a slow cooker and this recipe says to cook on low. I recommend HIGH because even after turning it to high after the allotted time went by the potatoes weren’t cooked all the way through in the end. Thankfully the chicken was.
Also-the entire bottle of Italian dressing was a bit much. I know slow cooker recipes are supposed to be “throw in and wait for the magic to happen” but this was not magical.
Without bashing this poor persons recipe too much, I’ll just say-next time I’ll try a different one.

There’s always going to be a flop when cooking in the kitchen and this was no exception.

All that being said here you go.

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Really the flavors were ok…I just think a different route would be better. Plus it gave us stomach cramps. I might have used a high sodium dressing or something. Who knows.

 

Well that was a bit of a downer for the end of this post. However, I’ve made more muffins (shocker) and I’ll try and post the recipes soon. Here is a sneak peak:

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Can we say “drool”?

à bien·tôt!

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ok. Think about it.

Chocolate.

Peanut Butter.

Muffins.

Now put it all together and you basically have a Reeses muffin. Do I really need to say anything more?

Didn’t think so.

Anyway, for some reason I had a huge craving for muffins. I don’t really understand it since I haven’t always been a huge muffin person. So one thing led to another and I found the recipe for these.

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I sorta messed up on the one on the bottom right. Fortunately it turned out fine. Shape doesn’t really matter all that much anyway.

The one thing that I found most difficult was putting the batter into the pan. It was soooo sticky. Other than that this was a ridiculously easy recipe.

Also-need it to be gluten free? Just substitute the flour for gluten free flour. But I’m too pro gluten for that. Ha

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With the first batch I sprinkled sugar on top, but the second one I didn’t bother and they were totally fine.

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The husband came home just on time for them to be cooled off enough to eat.
I believe our conversation went like this:

Me “Well those were delicious”
Peter “Mm-hm…But you know..to be sure I should have another one.”

It’s always nice when he likes what I cook.
Enjoy!

The best homemade chicken fried rice

I don’t know about all of you, but I seriously love chicken fried rice. Occasionally I’ll go for some orange chicken, fried dumplings, pork fried rice…The list goes on.

Anyway-I had made some garlic brown sugar chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner and it wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t bad! Don’t get me wrong..It just wasn’t as good as the tangy honey chicken I had made (read “Food” for that recipe). I had some left over and was craving chicken fried rice (as usual-I could eat it every day), but I didn’t want to go and buy some so I searched up a recipe.

I already had all of the ingredients, which always makes it easier, and that included the chicken. It had been sitting in the fridge a couple days so some of the baste soaked into the chicken making the flavor sink in more.

Here is the chicken recipe I used: Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Ingredients: 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 garlic cloves, minced 4 tblspoon brown sugar 3 teaspoons olive oil Instructions: Preheat oven to 500°F and lightly grease a casserole dish. In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes.

This is a great chicken to use for fried rice because it’s a great mixture of sweet and garlic.

For the rice I only used 2 chicken breast’ instead of 4. Believe me, it was plenty.

I like to leave it in the fridge over night so that the juice soaks into the chicken. Then the day of I chop it up.

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As all fried rice recipes will tell you, you need to cook the rice before hand and add it in cold. I like to do this the day of so that it isn’t super hard and you don’t have to used as much soy sauce. To each his own, though.

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I also, as well as Peter, really like tomatoes and usually you use tomato in a thai fried rice and I actually tend to like that recipe better..So I added those in. While the rice was cooking I went ahead and chopped that up, as well as some for a garnish.

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Now the recipe I used for the  fried rice calls for onion, but you can really use whatever you want in this rice as long as you follow the basic instructions. The first time I cooked this I used just peas and carrots, but this time I added in soy beans and greens beans. Not my favorite…But I’m just picky.

Here is the recipe: Chinese Chicken Fried Rice
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-chicken-fried-rice-ii/detail.aspx

Once the rice was hot I added the diced tomatoes and stirred them in.

Just as a note-I almost tripled this recipe. So instead of 2 cups of (cooked) white rice I used 5. (I put in 3 cups of rice to cook so I had a lot left over)
It works out, though because I ended up with a lot of left overs and I didn’t end up with too much cooked white rice I had no use for.
Tip-make sure to use a deep pan if you are doing such a large quantity. It keeps the kitchen from ending up in such a disaster. And if you’re anything like me, I think the cleaning is the worst part (well duh, cause the eating is the best!)

Yummmmm

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Here’s to chicken fried rice and much more home cooking!

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Food

So I decided (so my facebook friends don’t get flooded with photos all the time) that I’m going to make this blog more about food.
I’ll still be posting about random things you probably don’t care about…But that’s what almost everyone’s blog is about, right? Or what you think people will care about, I suppose.

Anyway, since I’ve been married (what…almost two months? ish?) I’ve been making dinner for the husband. Really-the reason I like it so much is mostly because I love food, but also because he loves food and is always appreciative.

So let’s start with pasta:

Italian Sausage Bow Tie Pasta

Italian Sausage Bow Tie Pasta

This recipe is awesome.
It’s actually quite easy to make and the italian sausage really adds a great flavor. You could even use a spicier sausage since this pasta is kind of sweet.

Here’s the recipe: http://sayyes.com/2013/09/dinner-in-25-minutes-bow-tie-pasta-with-sausage-and-sweet-peppers.html

Ok this one isn’t really a recipe and doesn’t really require a lot of cooking skills other than knowing how to use a toaster: English Muffin

Toasted English muffin with Nutella and Peanut butter.

Toasted English muffin with Nutella and Peanut butter.

All I have to say is: Yum!

Next we come to juice:

Plum juice on the right, pulp on the left.

Plum juice on the right, pulp on the left.

Again-no recipe other than a juicer.
I was going to make jam out of the pulp, but I didn’t have the supplies or the motivation (plums are messy!). I waited until the juice separated and scooped out the stuff on top. Add a spoon of sugar (or until your tasted buds don’t scream at you anymore from how tart it is) and you’re good to go. It was super yummy.

Now we come to something my husband made: sandwich

Turkey schnitzel sandwich with tomato, mustard, and mayo.

Turkey schnitzel sandwich with tomato, mustard, and mayo.

You can also make it with coleslaw (personally..I hate that stuff, but you can like it 😉 )
and mayo. I don’t have the recipe since it came out of a book. But I do know you pound the heck out of the meat, bread it, and fry it. Voila! It was really tasty.

Mexican food:

Enchiladas with homemade sauce and homemade chili filling

Enchiladas with homemade sauce and homemade chili filling

This one is more complicated. Basically I had made a chili for dinner and it ended up being super bland. However it tasted really good in burritos. I ended up finding a recipe for enchilada sauce (better than any canned sauce I’ve had),putting the chili, refried beans, and cheese inside..Rolled it up, put it in a pan, spread the sauce and cheese on top and cooked it for about 20 or so minutes at 350. Or until hot in the middle.

Here is the recipe for the chili: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/easy-3-ingredient-chili/

and the enchilada sauce: http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2013/05/enchilada-sauce.html

Soup!

Lasagna soup

Lasagna soup

This was really easy to make. Really you just put everything in a pot to cook until done. It tasted just like lasagna. I used a no boil noodle so that it wouldn’t take as long and that turned out really well.

Here’s the recipe:http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=207220

Meat and potatoes:

Garlic and parsley mashed potatoes and tangy honey basted chicken

Garlic and parsley mashed potatoes and tangy honey basted chicken

This one was awesome. We used the baste for gravy and it tasted really great. The recipe was pretty easy and we ended up with some really good leftovers (as usual).

I just did what I wanted with the potatoes. But basically heat water, wash, skin and cut up potatoes and boil until soft. I used my new kitchen aid to whip them up and added lactose free milk, salt, pepper, and garlic parsley powder.

Here is the chicken recipe: *4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts *1/3 Cup Butter, melted *1/3 Cup Honey *2 Tbsp mustard *1 tsp salt *Preheat oven to 350° *Combine butter, honey, mustard & salt *Pour over chicken *Bake 1 hour to a minimum internal temp of 165° *Baste every 15 min while baking.

I ended up making an extra batch of the baste to put on while it was cooking, but you can just use what is in the pan. Up to you!

More sandwich and potato:

Cheesy bagel with Pastrami and tomato and homemade potato wedges

Cheesy bagel with Pastrami and tomato and homemade potato wedges

I had to toast the bagel in the oven cause it was too fluffy for the toaster (found that out the hard way). My husband used mayo and mustard and who knows what else on his sandwich, but I just did butter, tomato and pastrami.

If you can’t tell yet-I LOVE potatoes. So I decided to make my own potato wedges. It’s nice cause you can control the amount of oil and salt and such. Plus they aren’t fried.They were SO GOOD.

Here’s the recipe. http://www.kissrecipe.com/2013/07/oven-baked-potato-wedges.html

I made a couple batches and did one with Parmesan cheese and one without. I couldn’t really tell the difference. I also had ranch dipping sauce-That was amazing. The spices on the potato really make it good to eat plain or with a dip.

That’s all for now I suppose! If you like cooking you should definitely make this.

I’m hoping to try out the crock pot soon. Wish me luck and happy cooking!

Boutonnieres, Candy, and Chinese

This week has brought on a lot of wedding planning, work, and school junk. It’s not that I don’t like wedding planning-it mostly that everyone has an opinion about what I should or shouldn’t do and I find it slightly aggravating.

It will take me a while to get to the point where I can ignore comments and just do what I want. I’ll get there eventually.

January 22nd-I found myself craving M&M's with peanuts after the gym. So I bought some. A lot of them.

January 22nd-I found myself craving M&M’s with peanuts after the gym. So I bought some. A lot of them.

I’m trying to keep on top of the wedding planning. It isn’t easy, but I really want to take advantage of the time I have left so I don’t end up freaking out about these stupid things right before the wedding. I made a commitment to make the bouquets and boutonnieres so I’m not going to waste the money and time I’ve spent on them. I feel pretty happy with the results I have thus far and there’s only a couple finishing touches to add.

January 23rd-I went to my friends house so she could help me making more button flowers for the bouquets and I ended up just making the  boutonnieres. I still have more to make for attendants, moms and such but I have the groomsmen and dads all done. Just need to add leaves, floral tape, and ribbon. :)

January 23rd-I went to my friends house so she could help me making more button flowers for the bouquets and I ended up just making the boutonnieres. I still have more to make for attendants, moms and such but I have the groomsmen and dads all done. Just need to add leaves, floral tape, and ribbon. 🙂

I went to the gym once this week on top of Yoga. The food aspect of being healthy didn’t work out so well, but I’ll get back on track.

January 24th-My pregnant sister was craving Chinese food so I went to my favorite (Portland) Chinese restaurant. I always have the best leftovers.

January 24th-My pregnant sister was craving Chinese food so I went to my favorite (Portland) Chinese restaurant. I always have the best leftovers.

All in all a successful week. For those of you who live in Portland, I hope you survive the wind. For the rest of you, I hope you have a good weekend.